Setting out to craft and amend Indiana's laws during the next session without a specific plan would be as foolish as starting winter with an empty hay mow.
My House Republican colleagues and I do have a specific plan-we call it the 2011 Strengthen Indiana Plan-for weathering out this difficult economy.
We have some real and concrete proposals which will 1) protect Hoosier taxpayers, 2) create Hoosier jobs and 3) expand educational opportunities, even in the tough budget year to come.
A few of them are:
· Adopt a budget with no tax increases. This will allow families and employers to focus on what really matters: getting back on their feet financially.
· Require the state to publish online every state agency budget, state employee and elected official salary, major contract, debt service and revenue sources- so that you know exactly where your tax dollars are going.
· Funnel education dollars into the classroom, rather than on overhead costs, thereby getting the most education for our dollars.
· Expand educational options for Hoosier families and develop entrepreneurial education programs for all Indiana Universities.
However, as a small business owner myself, I know your first concern-and mine- is creating jobs, not across the nation, and not even in Indianapolis, but right here at home.
A job is created when an employer, big or small, feels confident enough in the economy and in their organization to take a risk and take on another expense (an extra salary), trusting that productivity and profits will result.
From an employer's standpoint, financial stability lends itself to a secure business environment. Predictable taxes, predictable levels of service and predictability in government mean that business decisions can be made with confidence. This lets an employer know that the time may be right to hire again.
This is in direct contrast to some states- like our neighboring Illinois, where doctors, contractors and a host of other entities wait for months for state reimbursement, and where large tax increases are practically inevitable.
In contrast, if in control of the House next year, Republicans would boost access to start-up capital, so that Qualified Indiana Businesses can grow, expand and hire more quickly.
We would provide local communities with additional economic development tools like streamlining the abatement process for real and personal property.
We would also enhance the Industrial Recovery Site (Dinosaur Building) Tax Credit, which will encourage new businesses to relocate to vacant buildings in areas with high unemployment, invest in the community and rehabilitate downtown areas.
This is all in addition to previous proven successes in job creation the last time Republicans were in control of the House, like eliminating sales tax on research & development equipment in 2005 and creating the Hoosier Business Investment Tax Credit in 2006.
Finally, we need to realize that the manufacturing jobs Hoosiers have relied on for so many years may not come back. In their place will be high-tech, well paying jobs-which will a good thing for our communities, but will almost certainly require specialized education, certification and training.
As we look forward to the future, education must be a major focus so that Hoosiers will be able to fill these high-paying jobs. We need strong science, technology, engineering and math students in order to compete in the global economy.
That's why House Republicans would also work with Ivy Tech to develop up-to-date computer courses, expand entrepreneurial course offerings at high schools, and focus education dollars on the classroom.
There's a storm front ahead. But House Republicans are ready for it.